The new MealConnect technology platform that Feeding America recently launched helps rescue food that previously might have gone to waste -- maybe a small load of meat from a local butcher or a box of tomatoes from a farmers market. It's nice to see an initiative that enables businesses large and small to help reduce hunger. – Philip Bane
Feeding America already helps provide food to 46 million people in need each year – and with its new technology platform it expects to do more to rescue food that would otherwise be wasted and get it to those in need.
MealConnect allows food businesses of all sizes, from local mom-and-pop restaurants to large chain grocery retailers, to post surplus food on the MealConnect platform. An algorithm determines the best-suited local pantry or food program to quickly pick up and distribute the donation.
The platform is available to donors from any smartphone, tablet or computer to make an immediate impact in the communities where they operate. MealConnect is free for all users and all donations are tax-deductible.
The technology leverages the Feeding America network of 200 food banks and 60,000 pantries and feeding programs across the country. In addition, Feeding America says it maintains stringent food-safety standards to ensure that all food distributed is safe for consumption.
The technology was made possible with funding from General Mills, Google.org and the Walmart Foundation. And Starbucks says it will use MealConnect to help achieve its goal to rescue 100% of unsold food from its U.S. company-operated stores.
"In 2016, we pledged to bring the excess food in our stores, that otherwise would have been thrown away, to families in need," said Jane Maly, Program Manager at Starbucks. "By using MealConnect, we're able to track our donations in real time, allowing for more streamlined reporting by store and food bank."
More on food waste and rescue:
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Quick takes: 5 cities, 5 diverse approaches to reducing hunger
This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.
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